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Flight Behavior | [Barbara Kingsolver]

Flight Behavior

Dellarobia Turnbow is a restless farm wife who gave up her own plans when she accidentally became pregnant at 17. Now, after a decade of domestic disharmony on a failing farm, she encounters a shocking sight: a silent, forested valley filled with what looks like a lake of fire. She can only understand it as a cautionary miracle, but it sparks a raft of other explanations from scientists, religious leaders, and the media.
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Publisher's Summary

Dellarobia Turnbow is a restless farm wife who gave up her own plans when she accidentally became pregnant at 17. Now, after a decade of domestic disharmony on a failing farm, she encounters a shocking sight: a silent, forested valley filled with what looks like a lake of fire. She can only understand it as a cautionary miracle, but it sparks a raft of other explanations from scientists, religious leaders, and the media. As the community lines up to judge the woman and her miracle, Dellarobia confronts her family, her church, her town, and a larger world, in a flight toward truth that could undo all she has ever believed.

Flight Behavior takes on one of the most contentious subjects of our time: climate change. With a deft and versatile empathy Kingsolver dissects the motives that drive denial and belief in a precarious world.

©2012 Barbara Kingsolver (P)2012 HarperCollins Publishers

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.2 (1510 )
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  •  
    Marcia BURLINGTON, VT, United States 11-28-12
    Marcia BURLINGTON, VT, United States 11-28-12 Member Since 2008
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    "Tough Message Delivered in Silk"

    This book is a compelling story that ties in so beautifully with the human condition and natural world dilemma. Kingsolver bridges the gap of communication between social, political and academic cultures in this country through the eyes of a truly remarkable Kingsolverian character. She paints with words a world so precious and so precarious that I'm torn in two listening to it.

    Kingsolver herself narrates this wonder like she's been on stage her entire life. Who but she would know these people so spectacularly well but how often does an author live up to the challenge? This was one of the best books I've ever read.

    23 of 24 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Carol Kirkwood, CA, United States 11-15-12
    Carol Kirkwood, CA, United States 11-15-12 Member Since 2007

    us about yourself! I'm a retired English teacher and ardent reader(more because of physical disability than from job).

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    "Kingsolver's best yet"
    Would you listen to Flight Behavior again? Why?

    I have already listened to sections repeatedly. Kingsolver's style is lyrical and transfixing (especially her description of butterflys/distant wild fire).
    Her plot is involved and meaty, this one with a heavy dose of science. As always, Kingsolver shares a deep comitment to current environmental concerns, while detailing the limitations of the farm life and sharing insights into individuals, especially people with limited opportunities.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    The heroine was truly that, a complex, tormented woman you cared about as she struggled to understand herself and her choices.


    Have you listened to any of Barbara Kingsolver’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    This is her best yet. It combines her lyrical style and solid science.


    If you could rename Flight Behavior, what would you call it?

    It's the perfect title, because the heroine is struggling against temptations to flee and humans are denying scientific reality, so flight behaviors abound.


    Any additional comments?

    Kingsolver's lyricism and deft insights make her one of America's finest writers.

    19 of 20 people found this review helpful
  •  
    3xcharm Chicago 09-15-13
    3xcharm Chicago 09-15-13 Member Since 2013
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    "Another homerun for Barbara Kingsolver!"
    If you could sum up Flight Behavior in three words, what would they be?

    Surprisingly fiction, captivating.


    What did you like best about this story?

    Barbara Kingsolver crafts yet another amazing and compelling story which is simultaneously complex and incredibly simple. The most shocking component is her ability to craft a work of fiction within the construct of an environmental and biological reality. The growth and arc of the main character is well worth the ride! As with all of her books, I was sad to have it end.


    What three words best describe Barbara Kingsolver’s performance?

    Word-by-word reading...


    If you could rename Flight Behavior, what would you call it?

    Funny, but I couldn't keep the title in my head...I kept calling it Flight Risk.


    Any additional comments?

    Barbara Kingsolver has a wonderful voice, but can be painful to listen to due to her clearly innunciating each word and very slow reading speed. Her reading style was too staccatoed and too intentional with each word painfully articulated and spoken. Each word was read one at a time rather than in a fluid and flowing natural style. In one respect, I loved her reading her own book because I knew I would hear how each word was intended to be heard. However, I think a voice actor would have been much more capitivating. I found her narration so disturbing to listen to from the get-go that I almost considered not listening to it. The story was AMAZING...it's narration was not. Her voices for the different characters were limited and often even slower than the rest of the story, but her voice of Dr. Ovid Byron was fantastic! It is a story I will think about often.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Karen Philadelphia, PA, United States 11-28-12
    Karen Philadelphia, PA, United States 11-28-12 Member Since 2011
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    "Another great Kingsolver story"

    Let me start by saying that I am a Kingsolver fan. I'm not bothered by her liberal leanings and tendency to tackle social issues - in fact, it is part of what I love about her writing. Kingsolver is able to articulate some of the most important issues of our day in ways that are multifaceted. Furthermore, she explores them through characters we come to care about, that give the issues relevancy to lives, not just abstract theoretical value.

    So, does this book hammer home the need to pay attention to and try to do something to address and ameliorate the effects of climate change? Yes. But it is done in a way that calls up deep societal divides and differences regarding what that means - the cultural territories staked out by various sides - with empathy for the passion and urgencies of each faction.

    More importantly, it is a good story with compelling characters that pushes the reader/listener to reflect on her/his own position in the cultural ecology.

    I love listening to Kingsolver read her own work. I think her voice is perfect for the main character - although I think the few characters that required unusual accents stretched her skills a bit. It was not enough of a problem to distract me from the story.

    16 of 18 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jeff los angeles, CA, USA 12-26-12
    Jeff los angeles, CA, USA 12-26-12 Member Since 2002
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    "Why must the author also read?"
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    I love Kingsolver's books, but I wish she would let an actor read them. She is a fantastic writer, but aside from her memoir, why not let the stories be even more enhanced by a professional reader? Someone who can do male/female, young/old; someone who can transport and allow the listener to get completely transported into the story. I found myself often distracted by this; especially the attempts to do the Caribbean accent. I mean, she is fine, but why not have a great actor read a great book?


    What did you like best about this story?

    Issues of class, culture, the environment.


    What didn’t you like about Barbara Kingsolver’s performance?

    She isn't a professional reader; I wish she would let others read her books. It is fine to hear at a reading in a bookstore, but her voice just really bugged me. I only finished because I became wrapped up in the story, she is a great writer.


    23 of 27 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Melinda UT 11-14-12
    Melinda UT 11-14-12 Member Since 2009

    So hooked by audio that I have to read books aloud. *If my reviews help, please let me know.

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    "What if that Butterfly is Mothra?"

    The Butterfly Effect, aka The Chaos Theory; the flapping of a delicate butterfly wing changes the course of a hurricane--Kingsolver amps it up throwing Man into the equation creating a fictional scenario of climate change and global chaos (based on actual recent events) that asks again whether or not we grasp our world and our 'sensitive dependence'.

    Kingsolver, her writing as lovely as ever, seems to have settled on her mission to be a bellwether for social justice and perserving our ecology (her books could be stacked and become a worthy pulpit for her to deliver her message). This story is heavy with metaphors as the butterflies go through their life cycle and antagonist Dellarobia experiences her own metamorphosis. Kingsolver's moralizing fits in conveniently as Dellarobia questions not only "the end of the world", but her "911 Christian" status, the class system in her small town, and her own stifling marriage.

    I'll always read anything by Kingsolver and I admire her choice to use her art for a cause, but I would selfishly love another Poisonwood Bible--something lighter on the moralizing--along the lines of Requiem for a Species meets Cat's Cradle or The Year of the Flood--then back to tackling politics, biodiversity, social injustice. Flight Behavior wasn't my favorite, it would have been just as interesting with about half the butterfly facts, (and I think I could now midwife a lamb), but it has a message that can't be shouted loud enough, and it was time well spent.




    31 of 37 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Shelley Signal Hill, CA, United States 08-19-13
    Shelley Signal Hill, CA, United States 08-19-13 Member Since 2013
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    "Splendid!"
    Would you listen to Flight Behavior again? Why?

    An absolute joy to listen to... especially with as read by the author. An intimate view into the lives of the characters. Barbara Kingsolver always delivers a wonderful, entertaining and intriguing story.


    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    cristin Amarillo, TX, United States 02-08-13
    cristin Amarillo, TX, United States 02-08-13 Member Since 2009
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    "A poignant literary work of art."

    I'll admit, I was a bit worried when I started this book. I was afraid that this story would not measure up to Kingsolver's other book, one of my favorites, "The Poisonwood Bible" and I did not, from the get go, like the narration.But somehow, before I knew it, I was mesmerized by the narration AND the story. Kingsolver not only delivers a beautiful and poignant story, but her literary finesse always captivates me! This is NOT a fast-actioned book or even a romance novel, so if you do not like long books that are subtle and slower-paced, this is NOT the book for you. However, if, like me, you enjoy books that get "inside" of you and leave you empty when you 'turn' the last page, then this is the book for you.

    7 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kathleen Banff, AB, Canada 11-17-12
    Kathleen Banff, AB, Canada 11-17-12 Member Since 2007
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    "Everything known about Monarch butterflies"
    If you could sum up Flight Behavior in three words, what would they be?

    Unique, scientific, concerning


    Would you be willing to try another book from Barbara Kingsolver? Why or why not?

    I have read many books by Barbara Kingsolver and have thoroughly enjoyed most of them.
    I liked the basic story of Flight Behavior, particularly the characters, but I did find it a bit preachy and that, in some sections, the scientific information was heavy-handed. I would have to really look at the next book before I decided to read it or not.


    What does Barbara Kingsolver bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Her intonation and expression helped me understand the characters better. Because she had created these characters, she was able to give them more life and passion when she read the story.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    The conversation between Dellarobia and her mother-in-law Hester towards the end of the book, where Hester finally opens up to Dellarobia, was the most moving for me as it gave Hester real humanity and explained why she had always been stand-offish.


    Any additional comments?

    I liked the story in general but it was obvious that Kingsolver was on her soap-box about climate change. The ending was not very satisfying as it left the me hanging as to what happened to the Turnbow family and was rather apocalytic.

    7 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Daniel United States 11-18-12
    Daniel United States 11-18-12 Member Since 2009
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    "I was surprised"

    I expected unchained liberalism and had no hope for an author reading her own work. However, she gave a very balanced and perceptive point a view to a very difficult subject. Her reading was excellent. She has a very pleasant voice didn't over dramatize her favorite parts. It was very visual and could make a great movie.

    10 of 12 people found this review helpful
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